This is the first part of a two part interview. Read the second part the next week on The Dawn News.
Source: Resumen Latinoamericano / The Dawn News / February 8, 2018
One of the three leaders of the Kurdish guerrilla explained to Público Newspaper how the murderers of ISIS are evading the Middle East siege thanks to the schemes of Turkey, one of the Middle East countries supported by Spain and the West. Several years have passed without news of Apo Ocalan.
Popularly known by his war name Cuma (pronounced /d3u:ma:/), Cemil Bayik has been an active and founding member of the Central Committee of Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) since 1978. Five years ago he was chosen as the con president of the executive council of Kongra Gel, a parliament that groups every party and military organization that -from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Turkey and the diaspora- struggle for the liberation of the Kurdish people under the common ideological inspiration of “democratic confederalism” or Apoism (derived from the ideology of Apo Ocalan). This is the name for the doctrine that marks the new ideological path of the Kurdish people. It was conceived by their leader Abdulah Ocalan during the time he stayed confined in a Turkish prison.
Bayik was born near the Turkish city of Keban in 1955 (other sources say it was in 1951). Besides being one of the most outstanding leaders of the PKK and its military branch -the Popular Defense Forces (HPG)-, he is considered as one of the most credited intellectual voices, especially after the arrest and imprisonment of Ocalan in 1999. For the same reason, Bayik is one of the most hated and persecuted personalities of the Turkish dictatorship of Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Along comrades Murat Karayılan and Zübeyir Aydar, they lead the list of the most wanted by the Turkish regime.
This persecution has extended beyond the Turkish borders and reached, among other places, Spain; this led to the incorporation of the PKK in the international list of terrorist organizations in 2004 by NATO, the USA and the EU. This controversial, and unjustified, decision was adopted as a consequence of Turkey’s pressure, one of the military and political partners of the West in the Middle East.
This interview picks up the most relevant and significant aspects of several contacts that this newspaper maintained with the Kurdish leader during the last weeks. Bayik accepted to speak to Publico with the intention of making public to the Spanish speaking community the points of view of the movement he leads, which are often manipulated by other intermediaries like Turkey or misinterpreted by the indirect testimonies of Western observers.
The communication maintained with the leader ceased around 2 weeks ago, just when Turkey invaded the Kurdish region of Afrin unleashing a new bloodbath.
– It seems obvious that the inclusion of your movement in the international list of terrorist groups made after a demand of Turkey in 2004 is related to the military and armed nature of your acting strategies.
– Qualifying as terrorist the movement that seeks to liberate the Kurdish people from captivity was a maneuver sponsored by these colonialist states, especially Turkey, that divided and occupied Kurdistan in 4 parts. The PKK has repeatedly expressed its will to fight for the freedom of the Kurdish and for the rest of the peoples that live in Kurdistan in democratic and peaceful ways. Unfortunately, the mentality of the power we must face is nationalistic and tyrannical, and against a democratic solution to our problems. Given the brutal Turkish represion towards the Kurdistan peoples, we don’t have another choice but armed struggle.
– Are you saying that the only way to fight for the rights of the Kurdish people in Turkey was armed struggle?
– Judge that by yourself. During the 90s and with the entire world as witness, the Turkish government destroyed thousands of Kurdish villages, murdered dozens of thousands of civilians through crimes they granted to “unknown authors”, forced the migration of over 6 million people to the metropolitan cities of Turkey and the rest of the world. During those years, hundreds of thousands innocent people were detained; many of them were tortured and arbitrarily deprived of liberty. In 2015 and 2016, the same authors of the previous massacres burned and destroyed once again entire cities and murdered hundreds of civilians. The war that the Kurdish Liberation Movement is waging has as an objective to defend the innocent people that these forces have massacred. Despite this, we have always avoided any military intervention that harms civilians.
– Despite the fact that it was in an unintended apparent way, some of your actions claimed its share of victims that were subsequently used to justify the inclusion of the movement in the list of terrorist organizations.
For thirty or forty years, every military action has been directed against the Turkish security forces, against their policemen, spies and soldiers. It has never been part of our strategy to use violence against civilians or against civil environments. Our resistance has been legitimate from the beginning since it respects the Geneva Convention. This was made public officially through a document signed in 1994. There are some unfortunate cases of attacks that affected civilians in an accidental way. We have always excused ourselves and investigated the responsibles. On the other hand and despite the fact that most Western countries support Turkey, the PKK has never used violence against their interests nor has considered them as military objectives.
– Those Western countries that qualified your organization as terrorist, like Spain, are used to court Erdogan’s government openly despite the hundreds of documents that prove that the regime has supported the Jihadists of ISIS since the beginning of the conflict.
Everything happened right in front of the eyes of the world. The USA and its allies know that many of the weapons supplied to the Free Syrian Army end up in the hands of Daesh and Al Nusra thanks to the schemes of Turkey. It is also known that Daesh used Turkish fertilizer to make explosives or that many wounded Salafist were attended on Turkish hospitals. It is known that the Islamic State is funded, mostly, thanks to Turkey’s oil sales. Nobody denies that around 15 or 20 thousand Jihadist used this country to go to Syria and Iraq from Northern Africa, Europe, the Caucasus, Central Asia and other Chinese zones of the Uighurs. Who can actually deny this? Isn’t this enough to prove Erdogan’s complicity with this gang of criminals? There are uncountable testimonies and graphical evidence on how Hatay, Antep and Urfa were used as logistics support and transit points. Officially, the camps were established to help the Syrian refugees, but the MIT (National Intelligence Organization) infiltrated to control them. As a result, the AKP (Erdogan’s Party) has been able to use, direct or influence on both organizations since the start of the war.
– It clearly helped them blow up the so called “Revolution of Rojava”… [the northern territories of Syria that have Kurdish majority are commonly known as “Rojava”. In the recent times the name “Rojava” has been replaced by “Northern Syria” to highlight the multiethnic character of the region, where Arabs and certain minorities like Christian Assyrians or Yazidis have a key role].
Erdogan has used them for different purposes. He even used the Jihadists inside his country to repress the splinter groups and Kurdish people that mobilized against the country. Daesh has been the responsible of massacres that provoked the death of hundreds of people inside Turkish borders. In recent times, tactics have changed due to the triumph over the Islamic State. But until few years ago, Daesh and Al Nusra weren’t called terrorist organizations in Turkey. The euphemism “angry teenagers” was used. Now that they are practically defeated, Ankara has started referring to ISIS as a terrorist group with the objective of obtaining political advantages with the allies that fight the Jihadists in the region. In time, the Turkish state used the struggle against the Jihadist as an excuse to justify a military intervention in Syria which was finally directed against the Kurdish, who are also considered as terrorists despite the fact that no other people has emerged in such a notable way in the struggle against Salafists. The West is fully aware of all this situation but the interests of the international powers have been placed first before any other consideration of the ethical type.
– As you say, the previous links of Turkey with Jihadists are well known, but now that the latter have been defeated, do you have any proof that Ankara keeps collaborating with the terrorists helping them escape the siege?
There is a serious Daesh organization in the country. The politics of the current Turkish government has created a dangerous interior Daesh. How? It created a climate of opinion favorable to their ideas and it has encouraged the sectors of the population that sympathise with the tenets of the Salafists. At the moment, these haven’t being used by the AKP against the opponents of the government, but it is clear that they have the chance to do so, and when it is time, they will use them to attack the people and the entire humanity. By constantly building external enemies and talking about animosity against Islam, Tayyip Erdogan and the government of AKP-MHP has given Daesh a perfect scenery to germinate and strengthen their ideas. It is true that they have carried on some advertised operations against them, but their main objective is not fighting them; they disguise the true nature and simpathy of the regime. It is worth pointing out that after Daesh’s defeat, many Jihadists returned to Turkey. A part of them remained there under the control of the MIT, while others have moved to Europe or Asia. All this terrorist that have escaped Europe, Russia, China, North Africa, Canada and the USA are passing Turkey through Hatay. Many non governmental associations and organizations of this city are being used as a cover to protect them and send them to different destinations of the East and West. Daesh has also been defeated in Iraq and many Jihadist that fled Mosul and other cities are spreading through the world using Turkey as an escape route and to remain hidden. To facilitate transit, some corridors have been created. we are not speculating. Recently, many members of Daes were arrested or surrendered in Rojava. Their confessions confirm over and over that they received and keep receiving help from Ankara.
Down below an interview with Cemil Bayik by the BBC in 2016.